The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 9, 2014

Turnovers cost Lions in league battle

EDMOND, Okla. — Central Oklahoma’s rebounding and Missouri Southern’s turnovers in the second half doomed the Lions in a 62-60 loss to the Bronchos on Wednesday night in MIAA women’s basketball action at Hamilton Field House.

The Lions led 40-31 after scoring on the first possession of the second half, but the offense sputtered most of the rest of the game. The Lions shot 45 percent in the half but put up only 20 shots. The Lions committed 15 turnovers in the half, 23 for the game.

Rebounding also turned around as the Lions outrebounded UCO 25-16 in the first half, but the Bronchos owned a 22-15 advantage in the second half. The Bronchos also had 11 offensive rebounds in the second half after getting six in the first half.

“Defensively we did a good job in the first half,” Lions coach Ronda Hubbard said. “The real kicker was their offensive rebounding in the second half. … They were calling fouls on us, putting them at the free-throw line, and they were getting second and third attempts because we were not blocking out.

“We just weren’t playing fluid. We were making passes that we don’t normally make. Give credit to UCO. They created a tempo of changing defenses. Clearly that bothered us at the point. It bothered our offensive continuity.”

Still, the Lions had a chance to take the lead in the final minute. Sharese Jones’ rebound basket pulled the Lions even at 59-59 with 52 seconds left, but Jill Bryan made the back end of a two-shot foul to put the Bronchos back on top with 44 seconds to play.

The Lions had possession about 15 feet from the basket, but Olivia Mason came up with a steal, was fouled and made two free throws for a 62-59 lead with 19 seconds left. The Bronchos were 13-of-18 at the line in the second half after going 4-for-9 in the first half.

The Lions moved the ball inside but could not get off a shot. Shawnee Phillips got the ball on the right wing and was fouled on a 3-point shot with 3.9 seconds left. She missed the first shot, made the second and the Lions called a timeout. She intentionally missed the last shot, but the ball glanced off the rim and went straight down. Mason grabbed the ball, and time expired.

“We made a decision to miss the free throw on purpose and put two bigs in and try to rebound and put it back up,” Hubbard said. “That’s one strategy, and I don’t know if it’s the best one. That’s what we chose to try to do. We had an opportunity to get the ball, and we didn’t do it.

“That kind of seemed to be the story all night. Balls went loose, and we were getting outhustled on 50-50 plays. In long stretches and in particular positions on the floor, we got outplayed tonight.”

Jones led the Lions (9-3, 3-2 MIAA) with 13 points. Dominique Mosley scored 11 – all in the first half – and Alexis Fitzpatrick had 10.

Bryan and Britney Morgan had 13 and 12 points, respectively, for UCO (8-5, 3-3).

The Lions, after trailing most of the first 11 minutes, used a 3-pointer by Phillips and rebound basket by Shonte Clay to take a 24-20 lead with 7:35 left in the half. Six points from Mosley and five from Fitzpatrick increased the margin to 38-31 at the intermission.

Rebounds and free throws earned the Lions their halftime advantage. The Lions’ 10 offensive boards gave them a 10-3 advantage in second-chance points. The Lions, who scord seven of their first 11 points from the foul line, were 10-of-12 on charities for the half, but they attempted only five free throws in the second half, making two.

“Early on we didn’t run our offense very well,” Hubbard said. “We didn’t execute. Our guards were out of position. They were switching screens, and that was forcing us out a little wider than what we would like. When we were catching, we weren’t doing a good job of bringing the ball back to where we wanted it. We were missing good lucks underneath the bucket that were actually there, but we couldn’t get it to them because we were out of position on the perimeter within our offense.”

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